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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Could Fellowshp Have Been Two Films?

moreorless
Gondor

Jan 16, 10:39am

Post #1 of 12 (1712 views)
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Could Fellowshp Have Been Two Films? Can't Post

The switch from two films to three films during production is well known but one thing I'v often wondered is could Fellowship have been spilt into two separate films? I tend to think the merging of the two narratives in TTT and ROTK(although I spose this could maybe have been spilt after Pelennor) was pretty unavoidable but with Fellowship I think you have a very long narrative that could potentially have worked as two films.

That does I spose obviously bring up the question of the Old Forrest/Tom/Barrows sections potentially being included as has been discussed many times before but honestly I think you potentially have enough for a film even without that. I could imagine for example the Nazgul chase in the shire starting off in a more low key fashion, maybe not showing us there leaving Minas Morgul and perhaps include the meeting with the elves? Bree could I think also be extended a little making Butterbur rather more of a character and maybe a more talk of "spys". The biggest difference though I'd say spending more time on the Nazgul chase and perhaps including Gandalf? his escape from Isenguard could be shown earlier and perhaps the confrontation with the Nazgul on Weathetop? maybe showing there surrounding him before cutting to Frodo and co seeing the light in the sky?

More time would allow for the idea that the Nazgul are trying to bend Frodo to their will with the Morgul blade wound and I think this could be played up as really the central drama of the film, testing Frodo's strength against them and the ring. I think that section of the book has some very effective material such as Frodo dreaming his back in Bag End with the Nazgul looking over the hedge. Maybe the Ford could be played up a bit more as a final set piece? have Frodo's rejection of the Nazgul as the climax and perhaps actually have Gandalf present helping to call down the flood to defeat them?

A second film is I think actually quite easy to imagine, the Council of Elrond providing a nice opening and a bit of a recap. The journey south for me is perhaps the most rushed aspect of the film and I think that could be considerably extended, the Warg attack could be included as well providing a nice bit of action earlier in the film plus more time to give Legolas and Gimli a bit of character as well. The history of Moria as well could I think have been highlighted rather more with Balin's quest plus perhaps a bit more time spent on that journey as well, maybe highlighting Gollum a bit more.


(This post was edited by moreorless on Jan 16, 10:40am)


squire
Half-elven


Jan 16, 12:35pm

Post #2 of 12 (1679 views)
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Sure, but by the same arguments, so too could the other two films have been four. [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that the Fellowship film compressed or omitted many fine parts of the first two books, to get the story into one commercial length film.

I don't follow your thinking that Two Towers and Return of the King weren't equally compressed, with a lot of very good writing and situations left out for timing and structural reasons.

For all its flaws, the Jackson LotR project gets a lot of credit for deciding on 'three volumes, three films'. The initial impulse by other producers had been that, of course, one book = one film, at whatever cost.

The downside to expanding The Lord of the Rings to even more than three films is the continuing necessity to structure each screenplay as a standalone film, with its own beginning, middle, and end and with increasing amounts of connective material to remind audiences, seeing the films up to a year apart initially, how each film is continuing the larger story. The film trilogy was not made to be binge-watched, although God knows plenty of people probably now do that via the recordings.

Perhaps your ideas for a larger Fellowship will be realized if and when LotR is remade as a TV or streaming series!



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Jan 16, 4:32pm

Post #3 of 12 (1659 views)
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This has always been my notion [In reply to] Can't Post

That the first film, aptly titled The Return of the Shadow, would cover all the events from the beginning to the attack on the Fords of Bruinen, with film 2, The Nine Walkers, picking up in Rivendell and then concluding at Rauros Falls. The first film thus focuses mainly on Frodo being hunted by the Black Riders, Tom Bombadil is included, along with the Old Forest and Barrows, Bree is expanded upon greatly, with Butterbur playing more of the role he does in the book, and, as you mentioned, Gandalf's imprisonment and escape being shown in greater detail, probably also including his attempt to raise the alarm in Edoras. His fight with the Nazgul on Weathertop is also present in my draft.
The Fords of Bruinen provide a very epic final set-piece, actually. Mainly, the whole first film is centered on Frodo, not just as a character in the plot, but as a character in and of himself: I imagined that perhaps the prologue to that first film could be the death of Frodo's parents, and his adoption by Bilbo. There are also hints of Gollum (with a scene of Gandalf interrogating him in the dungeons of Mirkwood), and characters such as Wormtongue, Theoden, and Wormtongue, are introduced in Edoras.
Then, after that, the second film opens with a prologue detailing Aragorn's history (as, throughout the first film, you're looking at him mainly through the eyes of the hobbits, and they're downright suspicious of him, with the exception of Frodo), but anyway this prologue serves to show you his lineage, his birthright, and since so much of Lord of the Rings is the stories of Frodo and Aragorn, it made sense to me that the audience should learn Frodo and Aragorn's backstories in, respectively, the first and second films. The second film also includes elements such as the attack by the Wargs, flashbacks to Balin's attempt to retake Moria, and more of Celeborn. Arwen, of course, features slightly more prominently than in the books - but not in the same way Peter Jackson used her character.
After those two films, you have Treason of Isengard, which shows us the whole first half of Two Towers, mainly centered on Aragorn. Then there's The Ring Goes East, based on Frodo, Sam, and Gollum's adventures. That is followed by The War of the Ring, which returns to Aragorn and the others. The final film in the series is The End of the Third Age, with the whole epic battle of the Black Gates, and everything.

If I've rambled, forgive me: talking about this is very relaxing for me, as I just love the drafts that I and manofmordor came up with for the idea of a six-film series.

I love The Hobbit. Always will.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 17, 2:01pm

Post #4 of 12 (1545 views)
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Nice idea [In reply to] Can't Post

Your post made me think of how many horror/thriller movies can spend 2 hours with someone being stalked, the suspense building and building. (But let's rule out "found footage from Middle-earth" this case.) Since that's commercially proven over and over, why not draw out more "The Hunt for Frodo" from Bag End to Rivendell into its own movie? I do like the pursuit of Frodo as it builds, which is why the flood at Bruinen is such an emotional release and triumph for me as a reader--those bad guys have been haunting me for hundreds of pages, and they finally get their due!

People will debate about what to do with Bombadil, but the Barrow Downs sequence fits in so well with the whole creepy aspect of the hunt for Frodo, even if it was a blunder by the hobbits and not an explicit part of Sauron's plan. Cinematically, I think a lot could be done with the Barrow--the darkness yielding to a sickly light, the treasures heaped about that are both appealing and repulsive, the hand crawling toward the sword while Frodo is paralyzed with fear. All of that would make for good cinema.

The one area of the book that I love, The Council of Elrond, I must admit would not make for good cinema in its entirety. While I gnash my teeth with the existing movie at how cursory it is, I think 98% of movie viewers wouldn't want to watch the whole thing, so compressing it was the right move, even if it makes me gnash my teeth.


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 17, 9:17pm

Post #5 of 12 (1506 views)
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You've written drafts? [In reply to] Can't Post

Send them my way sometime! A six-part adaptation would be a dream.


Darkstone
Immortal


Jan 18, 12:18am

Post #6 of 12 (1498 views)
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Sure [In reply to] Can't Post

During Jackson's pitch to New Line the franchise hungry Bob Shaye famously interrupted to ask "Aren't there three books in the series? Why are you making two films? Why not three?''

If only someone had mentioned that LOTR was composed of *six* books (and six appendices) think of the epic we would have had!

And actually, since Book I ends with "Flight to the Ford" and Book II begins with "Many Meetings", it matches your own ideas about the movies' point of separation.

******************************************
Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


moreorless
Gondor

Jan 18, 8:32am

Post #7 of 12 (1457 views)
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I do think thats some of Tolkiens best material [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Your post made me think of how many horror/thriller movies can spend 2 hours with someone being stalked, the suspense building and building. (But let's rule out "found footage from Middle-earth" this case.) Since that's commercially proven over and over, why not draw out more "The Hunt for Frodo" from Bag End to Rivendell into its own movie? I do like the pursuit of Frodo as it builds, which is why the flood at Bruinen is such an emotional release and triumph for me as a reader--those bad guys have been haunting me for hundreds of pages, and they finally get their due!

People will debate about what to do with Bombadil, but the Barrow Downs sequence fits in so well with the whole creepy aspect of the hunt for Frodo, even if it was a blunder by the hobbits and not an explicit part of Sauron's plan. Cinematically, I think a lot could be done with the Barrow--the darkness yielding to a sickly light, the treasures heaped about that are both appealing and repulsive, the hand crawling toward the sword while Frodo is paralyzed with fear. All of that would make for good cinema.

The one area of the book that I love, The Council of Elrond, I must admit would not make for good cinema in its entirety. While I gnash my teeth with the existing movie at how cursory it is, I think 98% of movie viewers wouldn't want to watch the whole thing, so compressing it was the right move, even if it makes me gnash my teeth.




I do personally think the slow buildup in tension around the Nazgul chase is some of Tolkiens best most obviously cinematic writing. Jackson does mine it very effectively but still I do think there it potential for it to be the basis of an entire film. You also I think have a lot of potential for Aragorn to be more of a character of mystery that we learn about more slowly.

I think you could argue it would be easier to include more of Rivendell and the council if it was in the first act of a second film rather than more of a waypoint in the middle of the first.


(This post was edited by moreorless on Jan 18, 8:36am)


moreorless
Gondor

Jan 18, 8:47am

Post #8 of 12 (1453 views)
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Its more I don't see FOTR as an easier spilt... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I agree that the Fellowship film compressed or omitted many fine parts of the first two books, to get the story into one commercial length film.

I don't follow your thinking that Two Towers and Return of the King weren't equally compressed, with a lot of very good writing and situations left out for timing and structural reasons.

For all its flaws, the Jackson LotR project gets a lot of credit for deciding on 'three volumes, three films'. The initial impulse by other producers had been that, of course, one book = one film, at whatever cost.

The downside to expanding The Lord of the Rings to even more than three films is the continuing necessity to structure each screenplay as a standalone film, with its own beginning, middle, and end and with increasing amounts of connective material to remind audiences, seeing the films up to a year apart initially, how each film is continuing the larger story. The film trilogy was not made to be binge-watched, although God knows plenty of people probably now do that via the recordings.

Perhaps your ideas for a larger Fellowship will be realized if and when LotR is remade as a TV or streaming series!


I'd agree TTT and ROTK do obviously remove a good deal of detail as well but I can't see as easy a spilt in those films besides following the books and covering one story in each film.

Honestly I have always tended to view Tolkien as naturally being "cinematic" in style being heavily focused on building atmosphere. I spose you could argue that's less the excusive domain of cinema anymore and I can see the narrative of FOTR working over a series of episodes but TTT and ROTK would I feel be more of a struggle to build up episodic drama.

As I said I'm not even automatically talking about adding in more Tolkien material to FOTR, at least in the first film I could still see the argument of the Old forrest/Tom/Barrows as a diversion from the plot. Moreso that I think the plot Jackson does cover could potentially be given more time and be the basis for an entire film.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Jan 18, 5:48pm

Post #9 of 12 (1337 views)
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The drafts are still in a state of disarray mostly [In reply to] Can't Post

But yes, I have written some - mainly for the first film, but the other five are planned out entirely: except that the final film still presents a serious difficulty. But mainly, the first film, in its most simple form, would be Frodo trying to get to Rivendell while being pursued by the Black Riders. The drafts themselves are currently scattered around, so piecing them together into a presentable form would be difficult, but I could message you most of the basic stuff: a synopsis and all that.

I love The Hobbit. Always will.


moreorless
Gondor

Jan 20, 11:27am

Post #10 of 12 (1230 views)
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A first film would I think need to be more Frodo centric [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
But yes, I have written some - mainly for the first film, but the other five are planned out entirely: except that the final film still presents a serious difficulty. But mainly, the first film, in its most simple form, would be Frodo trying to get to Rivendell while being pursued by the Black Riders. The drafts themselves are currently scattered around, so piecing them together into a presentable form would be difficult, but I could message you most of the basic stuff: a synopsis and all that.


If your looking at covering the Old Forrest/Tom/Barrows section especially I think the first film would probably need to start off "smaller" revealing less of wider events and very much focused on Frodo's building courage.

I think Jackson's film deliberately makes Frodo more passive early on so that he can show that growth in courage at the climax after Moria. Splitting the film in two I think you'd have more time for other characters, the likes of Gimli, Legolas, Merry and Pippin to be built up in the second half rather than leaving fleshing them out until TTT.


(This post was edited by moreorless on Jan 20, 11:27am)


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 20, 3:30pm

Post #11 of 12 (1224 views)
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We’ve been conversing via PM [In reply to] Can't Post

I very much see a film adaptation of Book 1 of Fellowship as a Jane Austen domestic comedy of manners meets Halloween — Frodo finding his place in the Shire disrupted by a Nightmare that takes the film out of society drama and into the realm of terror.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Jan 20, 7:36pm

Post #12 of 12 (1203 views)
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Precisely [In reply to] Can't Post

The first book is probably, if not my favorite in the entire Lord of the Rings, then at the very least my second favorite, with the third book (that is, Treason of Isengard) being my favorite.

I love The Hobbit. Always will.

 
 

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